Monday, September 5, 2016


"C.I.D." That's what I have written in the space I'm supposed to put my signature on the back of all of my credit cards. Not only do I have "C.I.D." on the back of my credit cards, but I also have that on the back of my new Chip 'n Pin 'n Swipe cards.

What are Chip 'n Pin 'n Swipe cards? Those are the cards with that new chip installed where you are supposed to insert it into the card reader at the store, but then have to swipe it because the clerk informs you that the chip part isn't working yet.

At least this place had the courtesy to let you know!

Not only do a lot of the chip readers not work, but the whole Chip 'n Pin system is a bust. It was designed to be a more secure form of exchange, but in actuality, it is no more secure than the simple "swipe" style of before.

And here's why:

"C.I.D." is the clever way of saying "See I.D." (or identification). More accurately, "C.I.D." means to "Check I.D." Since very few minimum-wage cashiers are also handwriting experts, it's more secure to have them check the name stamped on the card against the name on the I.D.

You know what? I can take my little Check 'n Pin card and stick it in a (working) chip reader, make my transaction, put the card back in my wallet, and walk out the door, and NO ONE will check to verify if that card was stolen or not.

As long as the other half of the transaction (you know, the person working the register) never bothers to compare the name on the card to the name on some form of identification of the person in possession of the card, the "secure" portion of the transaction has never taken place.

Anyone can walk into a store with a stolen credit card and chip it or swipe it and walk away without issue.

I've heard from quite a few that rave about the Chip 'n Pin system being SO secure, and that it is so good for the United States to FINALLY start to catch up to the rest of the world. But you know what? That is hogwash. It is a false sense of security. And for businesses to have to spend all kinds of money to comply is without value.

There is, of course, another option:

For those who have made the jump to "smart phones", and aren't using Windows, and have a bank that supports it, and you go to stores that support it, you can always pay with your phone. Using NFC (Near-Field Communication) technology, you can use a secure PIN, or (if available) your fingerprint, and simply hold your phone over the card reader. Because you have possession of your phone, and you know the PIN or have the correct fingerprint, it is more likely that the person making the transaction is indeed the possessor of the (previously entered into the phone) credit card.

Unfortunately, I use a battery extension case on my phone (because the battery life on my phone isn't the best), and the NFC won't transmit through the case. The case is too much of a pain to take on and off to make using it for payments useful.

But if you REALLY want to confuse the cashier, you can always use cash!

Which reminds me of an old joke:

I once went to Denny's and after breakfast found out that my eggs were Egg Beaters, my sausage was Sizzlean, and my orange juice was Tang.

So I paid for my meal with Monopoly money.

©Emittravel 2016

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